Jameis Winston was the most pro-ready quarterback coming out of college in the last 10 years**
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction: There aren't many college quarterbacks that come out of pro systems these days, so there aren't many that can step in as rookies and compete competently on the NFL level in their first year. Winston is up there, but he is not on top of the list. Cam Newton would have to claim the spot given all the rookie and sophomore records he broke. The fact Newton didn't come from a pro system makes his performance all the more impressive. I'll put Andrew Luck second on the list, given how well he played early in his career. The third guy would be Matt Ryan, who quickly became an upper level NFL quarterback.
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Fiction: Andrew Luck's 12,957 passing yards in his first three seasons were the most by any player in NFL history, and his 86 touchdown passes ranked second only to Dan Marino for the most in a player's first three years. Luck, Marino and Peyton Manning are the only players to pass for 4,000 yards in two of their first three NFL seasons. Need more? Luck also had a 33-15 record as a starter in that span.LANCE MEDOW:
Fiction: *Winston is in that conversation given his physique and the system he ran at Florida State, but based on the comparisons and projections over the last 10 years, I have to go with Andrew Luck. When he was coming out of Stanford, leading up to the 2012 Draft, many experts said he was the most pro-ready quarterback since Peyton Manning and even John Elway. * Those comparisons started even after his freshman campaign. One other quarterback that deserves consideration is Matt Ryan, given his decorated resume coming out of Boston College. Like Luck, Ryan was also considered the most pro-ready quarterback in his class despite a number of other players at that position receiving more attention and notoriety.
Doug Martin is a top-five running back in the NFL**
JOHN SCHMEELK:Fact: Given Martin is the league's fourth leading rusher, and all the injuries to players like Le'Veon Bell and Jamaal Charles, he would have to be in the top five. After a great rookie year, Martin struggled with injuries and a poor supporting cast his second and third years in the league, but he looks like a Pro Bowl running back again this season. He is quick, can break tackles and is a threat out of the backfield.
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Fiction: He might be in Week 9, but to have the distinction of a top-five running back, the player has to do it consistently. Since he came into the league in 2012, he's only ninth with 75.4 rushing yards per game. Nonetheless, he's the player to stop on Sunday for the Giants.LANCE MEDOW:
Fiction:It's hard to put a running back who had a stellar rookie campaign in 2012 but hasn't been able to duplicate that success since in the top five. His sample size is also quite small considering he's only played in all 16 games once in his career due to injuries. With that being said, a running back's production goes hand in hand with the play of the offensive line and, in Martin's case, he hasn't had much consistency in run blocking following his rookie year. My top five running backs are: Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Le'Veon Bell and Eddie Lacy, with Matt Forte receiving honorable mention.
The Giants will break out with a season-high number of sacks vs. Tampa Bay
J** OHN SCHMEELK: Fact: Most people would assume this has to do with whether or not Jason Pierre-Paul plays, but it has more to do with a young Bucs offensive line and Jameis Winston's (and most young quarterbacks') tendency to hold the ball. The Bucs are starting a rookie second round pick at left tackle, and the Giants should be able to generate some pressure. >> READ BUCCANEERS SCOUTING REPORTDAN SALOMONE: Fact:
The number to break is two for a Giants defense that has just nine so far. This is a game where the Giants could start to get the ball rolling. Last season they went through a drought but were able to capitalize down the stretch with some inexperienced quarterbacks, eventually finishing fourth in the NFL in sacks. That could be the recipe again this year, but Jameis Winston is a tough player to bring down at 6-4, 231 pounds.LANCE MEDOW:
Fiction:The Giants have just nine sacks in eight games, which ranks dead last in the NFL. They would need three sacks (1/3 of their total on the season) against the Bucs to post a season-high in that category. I think the odds are against them given how well the Tampa Bay offensive line has performed, especially in pass protection. Last season, the Bucs O-line surrendered 52 sacks (tied for third-most in the league), but this season, through seven games, just 14. Jameis Winston was sacked seven times in the first two games combined, but since Week 2 he hasn't been sacked more than two times in a game. **
The NFC South is the best division in the conference
JOHN SCHMEELK: ** Fiction: It's amazing how things change from year to year. Last year the NFC South was a laughing stock with an under .500 team making the playoffs, but this year they are the second-best division in the NFC, though it is very close with the NFC West. I put the South below the West because I think the Cardinals are the best team of the eight, and the Seahawks are on the same level as Carolina, the best team in the South. The 49ers are the worst team of the eight, but I still give the nod to the West. [>> VICTOR CRUZ OPTIMISTIC AS HE RESUMES RUNNING DRILLSDAN SALOMONE:
Fact: It boasts the last undefeated team in the conference, a 7-2 record against the NFC East, three Pro Bowl quarterbacks, and a Rookie of the Year candidate as the fourth. It's remarkable how the tables can turn from season to season in the NFL. The Panthers won the division in 2014 with a 7-8-1 record. They are 7-0 now. LANCE MEDOW:
Fact:It's by far the deepest division in the conference with three teams at .500 or better and the Bucs just one game below .500. It is quite ironic that the NFC South is arguably the best division in the conference, considering last season every team finished below .500 and there were calls to change the postseason structure. Let this be the latest example of the continuous parity in the NFL and how quickly teams can turn things around thanks to the salary cap and the draft. The Panthers are unbeaten, the Falcons are having a bounce back campaign with new leadership and, after slow starts, the Saints and Bucs have recovered nicely, especially Tampa Bay, which has a rookie quarterback. In comparison, the NFC East has four teams that are .500 or worse, the Bears and Lions have combined for just three wins in the NFC North, making the division essentially two deep and while the NFC West goes three deep, the Niners are in worse shape than the Bucs.
Keep an eye on these five players as the Giants face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday
Fact. The number to break is two for a Giants defense that has just nine so far. This is a game where the Giants could start to get the ball rolling. Last season they went through a drought but were able to capitalize down the stretch with some inexperienced quarterbacks, eventually finishing fourth in the NFL in sacks. That could be the recipe again this year, but Jameis Winston is a tough player to bring down at 6-4, 231 pounds